Our Team


Meet the experts behind our practice


Abram Aguilar, MD

Medical Director

Dr. Aguilar graduated with honors from the University of Arizona earning bachelor’s degrees in both biochemistry and molecular/cellular biology. He proceeded to pursue medicine at Arizona College of Medicine while simultaneously earning his medical doctorate and Master’s degree in public health. As a dual Board Certified Internist, he specializes in adult medicine, public health, with special skills in administrative medicine and critical care of hospitalized patients.

He quickly ascended into healthcare leadership becoming the Chief Medical Officer of Northwest Hospital where he led numerous endeavors serving the community across primary care, urgent care, emergency services, hospital medicine, women’s health, critical care medicine, as well as surgical and non-surgical specialty practices. After 6 years of service, Dr. Aguilar moved on to pioneer a comparable service line expansion at Carondelet Health Network, unifying service lines across hospital medicine, emergency medicine, and critical care. His passion and innovation led to enhanced patient care, team unity, provider recruitment and collaborative gains working in concert with many disciplines and administrators to achieve excellence.

After 16 years of practice, Dr. Aguilar has and continues to work passionately to serve his patients while constantly seeking innovation to enhance his colleagues’ best impact care on the entirety of our community and populations.

Dan Carter, FNP

Nurse Practitioner

Dan graduated from American Career College Anaheim where he obtained his LPN in 2004. Later, he received his MSN from Walden University in 2021. Dan comes to us with extensive experience in both emergency room and rehabilitation settings serving as a charge nurse for patients with acute illnesses. With this experience, Dan is dedicated to provide long-term care for his patients. 

Vanessa Aulet, FNP

Nurse Practitioner

Vanessa earned her Bachelor of Nursing degree from Thomas Edison State College and a Masters of Nursing from Spring Arbor University. She has worked as an RN for over a decade. Her experience includes working with the mental health, pediatric, geriatric, and correctional populations as both a charge nurse and a staff nurse. Additionally, her studies of alternative medicine at Everglades University have given her a keen interest in practicing holistic medicine that treats mind, body, and spirit. Her role at Escalera is to serve as a primary care provider offering services including but not limited to preventative medicine, managing chronic disease, and pain management. 


Kelli Trueba, MA, LPC-S

Licensed Therapist | Director of Behavioral Health

Kelli earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Redlands in 2001 and her Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2003. She has worked in Tucson as a licensed behavioral health professional since 2004, and as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) since 2010. She has extensive training, experience, and leadership working within crisis mental health and has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Kelli has a love for helping others pursue happiness from a personal and professional perspective. 

Sarah Herndon, LMSW

Licensed Therapist | Therapy Supervisor

Sarah attended the University of Arizona for her Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and Hawaii Pacific University for her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Sarah is a Licensed Master Social Worker passionate about empowering her clients to make successful, lasting progress toward their goals. Her professional background includes work in international and domestic adoption, youth LGBT+ advocacy, chronic and terminal illness counseling, general mental health and serious mental illness therapy, medical management, and human trafficking survivor advocacy. Sarah has served as a Field Instructor for MSW students and is active in the Tucson community’s human and animal rights sector. Sarah’s therapeutic approach includes cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, positive psychology, and motivational interviewing. Prior to joining the Escalera Health team, Sarah worked in facility administration, quality improvement, and regional-level management for medical clinics.

Angela Daniels-Valenzuela, MA, ATR-BC, LISAC

Licensed Therapist

Angela received two Masters Degrees, the first in Art Therapy and Counseling and the second in Human Resources and Substance Abuse Counseling. She has over 21 years of experience working with adults, children, and families with numerous behavioral health issues. In addition to traditional talk therapy, Angela utilizes Art Therapy as a supplemental tool to aid expression of especially difficult issues. This therapeutic technique allows exploration of various issues through art-making and can be healing. Angela has experience working with blended families, partners in interracial relationships, individuals struggling with bi-racial identity or multi-ethnicity, and individuals involved in probation and Child Protective Services. Angela’s patients represent a variety of cultures, including members of tribal communities in Arizona.

Jo-Ann Marcus, LCSW

Licensed Therapist

Jo-Ann is a graduate of the University of Chicago and the University of New England. Her therapy style is collaborative, pragmatic, and compassionate. She has extensive experience helping clients who are struggling with loss and grief, life transitions, divorce, stepfamilies and parenting, domestic violence, workplace issues, depression, and is trained to provide Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Jo-Ann helps people find better ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, as well as internal conflict and strained relationships. 


Dara Dupree, LCSW

Licensed Therapist​

Dara earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Social Work at Arizona State University. She provides compassionate whole health approaches including Mindfulness, CBT-Trauma Informed, Couples Counseling, Motivational Interviewing, Substance and Relapse Prevention, Grief and Loss, and psychoeducational tools to improve coping skills and communication techniques. Dara has worked with adolescents and adults in community behavioral health and hospital settings for over 25 years. 

Brittany Cabezas

Brittany Cabezas, LCSW

Licensed Therapist​

Brittany earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional and a Certified Clinical Telemental Health Provider. Brittany employs various therapeutic modalities including  Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), to individualize treatment for each client and approaches every session with a person-centered and strengths-based perspective. Brittany has worked in detox, inpatient, residential, intensive outpatient, and outpatient levels of care. She has diverse experience working with adults of all ages involving dual diagnoses, general mental health, trauma, substance use disorders, serious mental illness, and neurological and chronic health conditions. Brittany is passionate about helping clients and their loved ones in navigating circumstances to improve their quality of life.

Bianca Aguilar, LPC

Licensed Therapist​

Bianca received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and her Master’s in Forensic Mental Health Counseling from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. She has worked as a group facilitator and individual counselor, both in the community and within the prison system. She has supported patients in various areas of mental health including substance abuse, mood disorders, psychosis, grief and loss, and chronic pain. She has also worked with a lot of patients that have experienced trauma either as a child, adult, or both and has had great success helping them heal. She takes pride in tailoring her treatment to focus on patient specific needs, which may require the use of therapeutic modalities such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), Psychodynamic Therapy, and Crisis Intervention. It is important for her to meet you where you are psychologically, emotionally, and mentally. With her diverse training and skills, she can offer you a supportive, non-judgmental, and safe space for therapy that is conducive to healing and growth. 

Stephanie Bert, LISAC

Licensed Therapist​

Stephanie graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling. Stephanie utilizes clinically tested and evidence-based interventions such as CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and Solution-Focused Therapy among others to help her clients make the difficult changes in their lives that will help them reach happiness and fulfillment. Stephanie has worked as both a Primary Therapist and Clinical Director of two local inpatient drug and alcohol treatment facilities. Stephanie has worked both inside correctional facilities and with recently released State and Federal inmates to help with their successful transition back into society. She has experience with many different mental health and addictive disorder diagnosis specializing in dual-diagnosis.

Claudia Hannum, LISAC

Licensed Therapist​

Claudia is a graduate from Grand Canyon University where she obtained her masters’ degree in Addictions Counseling. As a Licensed Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), Claudia is passionate about helping individuals break generational patterns and establish new ways of coping. She utilizes evidence-based interventions such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Motivational Interviewing (MI). Claudia recognizes the correlation between substance use and mental illness, and she has extensive experience treating clients with depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, PTSD, and ADHD. Claudia provides psychoeducation to help clients build healthy boundaries and increase insight and self-awareness. She works with couples and individuals in helping build strong relationships and improve communication. Claudia understands the importance of providing a safe space, one that is conducive to healing through the use of Trauma Informed Care. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and may conduct sessions in either language to accommodate client’s preference. 

Arlene Woolfolk, LAC

Licensed Therapist

Arlene’s experience is in individual counseling, family counseling, treatment planning, individualized assessments, and trauma informed crisis management. A University of Arizona graduate with a master’s in mental health counseling, Arlene uses psychoeducation to promote client understanding regarding the impacts of trauma as it relates to integrated care services. This covers treatment issues (including medication), official diagnoses, and relevant skills training. She approaches therapy with professionalism, warmth, empathy, acceptance, and humor. 

Amber Gin, LMSW

Licensed Therapist​

Amber provides person-centered therapy with compassion and empathy through an integrated approach. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. Amber works with adults of all ages who are dealing with anxiety, depression, life transitions, grief and loss, and low self-esteem. She specializes in therapy with older adults and has extensive experience with informal caregivers and families of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

Frank Fountain, LAC

Licensed Therapist​

Frank is a graduate from Grand Canyon University with honors. Frank has certifications in Trauma and Grief and Bereavement. He specializes in these areas along with substance abuse and addictions along with mood and personality disorders. Risk and crisis management are a focus. In meeting the client where they are, Frank uses an integrated approach to therapy. Utilization of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Person Centered Therapy, Structural Therapy, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy provide an approach to meet the client where they are at. Other integrations of Existentialism and Gestalt supplement the main modalities. Frank brings experience from Group Therapy, Inpatient and Outpatient settings, as well as Title 36 Work in providing a level of safety to the individual in exploring personal Challenges. Frank also has worked in Child therapy, Play therapy and Family therapy.

Frank has worked in the field of mental health for over 15 years beginning with Traumatic Brain Injured Individuals and is an associate licensed therapist.

Stephanie Conlee, LMSW

Licensed Therapist​

Stephanie received her Bachelor’s in Psychology, which she admits was absolutely fascinating, and her Masters in Social Work. Stephanie’s passion in life has always been to help others become the very best version of themselves. She works hard to find the silver lining in all of life’s struggles, and she does this by using a multifaceted approach. Stephanie is experienced in CBT, DBT, Mindfulness, Motivational Interviewing, person-centered and solution-focused therapy. She came to Tucson after having worked with orphaned children in Mexico, and she worked closely with Tucson’s homeless population. Her background includes: Parent Aide work with families within the DCS system, Direct Support with Youth in Behavioral Health, Case Manager for both adults and children, Sonora Behavioral Health Hospital social worker, brief hospice work, Therapist working with young adults to elderly with focus being given to Childhood trauma, Family of origin trauma, marital issues, LGBTQ+ issues, general mental health, schizophrenia, substance use/recovery and much more. Stephanie uses a non-clinical environment and approach to treatment and allows there to be open dialog to promote healing in the most organic way possible. She looks forward to being a part of your journey to healing!

Marla Brewer, LASAC

Licensed Therapist​

Marla’s experience is in individual counseling, couples and family counseling, individualized assessments and substance use. A University of Ottawa graduate with a master’s in addictions counseling, Marla uses psychoeducation and mindfulness-based practices to promote client understanding and to assist clients in reaching their goals. Marla is also certified in Accelerated Resolution Therapy (A.R.T.) which aids clients dealing with trauma, PTSD, grief and loss, and depression through hand and eye movements. She approaches therapy with professionalism, empathy, acceptance and humor. She is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Karen Reynolds, LMSW

Licensed Therapist​

After 28 years as a special education teacher, Karen changed careers and began her journey in the behavioral health system. She decided to further her education and in 2019, she graduated from Arizona State University with a Master’s Degree in Social Work. Karen is currently a Licensed Master Social Worker who uses a variety of therapeutic approaches to help clients work toward their goals. Karen uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Mindfulness and Solution Focused Therapy techniques among other things. She has provided services to a variety of populations including those working on substance use issues, those who are incarcerated and those who have a Serious Mental Illness and survivors of sexual assault.

Amber Moriconi

Amber Moriconi, LMSW

Licensed Therapist​

Amber earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Arizona and her Master’s degree in Social Work from Arizona State University. She is passionate about assisting others through life difficulties to promote healing and acceptance. Her professional background includes work with children and families in the DCS and foster care system, chronic and life limiting illnesses counseling, hospice care and grief and loss counseling. Amber assists people with finding skills to cope with depression, anxiety, relationship strain, work stress, life transitions and trauma. She approaches therapy with compassion and acceptance in supportive therapeutic environment.

Katy Kottabi, LMSW

Licensed Therapist​

Katy earned her Masters degree in social work, received from Arizona State University. She has experience assisting clients with depression, anxiety, stress management, self-esteem, trauma, relationship issues, life transition, chronic and terminal medical conditions. Her approach to therapy is person-centered, with an emphasis on compassion and empathy. She uses a variety of therapeutic interventions, and is trained in cognitive behavior therapy, motivational interviewing, mindfulness, and solution-focused therapy. Her goal as a therapist is to help you feel stronger in the face of challenges, learn new skills and coping strategies, adjust behaviors that may be holding you back, gain self-confidence and heal pains from the past. Life’s challenges are an opportunity for growth! 


Anthony Dianda

Anthony Dianda, Practice Manager


Jamie Walker, RN


Lesette Amos, MA

Accalia Ortega

Accalia Ortega, MA

Veneta Arrington

Veneta Arrington, Eligibility Specialist

Brittney Koning

Brittney Koning, MA/Front Desk

Desiree Duarte

Desiree Duarte, MA/Front Desk